These flights are most likely to leave you stuck in an airport for the holidays

Being stuck in an airport isn’t anyone’s idea of a good holiday, so flight compensation platform AirHelp decided to study the flights least, and most, likely to be disrupted by holiday travel — and how early to buy tickets. On Thursday, October 25, AirHelp shared the most disrupted holiday flights, the best times to fly, and the cheapest day to book.

Buying holiday travel tickets about nine weeks in advance — which is around now for the Christmas holiday — usually results in the cheapest tickets. Travelers can save up to $260 on a flight depending on which day they choose to buy tickets, AirHelp says.

While those traveling for Thanksgiving have already missed the window for the cheapest flights, AirHelp shared the most popular flight routes for the Thanksgiving holiday, where around 153,000 flights depart from the U.S between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Monday after. The company recommends flying between 6 a.m. and noon because those flights showed the fewest disruptions.

Of those flights, AirHelp shared the November holiday routes with the most disruptions, several which were also on the list of the most popular flights:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

For the holidays falling at the end of the year, AirHelp says the busiest time to travel last year fell between December 21 and January 2 but varied with each airport. For example, December 22 was the busiest day for Chicago O’Hare, Denver International, San Francisco International, and Newark Liberty International. January 2 was the most popular travel day for Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas Fort Worth International. Others showed more variety in the busiest travel date, with Atlanta Harsfield-Jackson International being busiest on December 29, Charlotte Douglas International on December 27, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport on December 29, and New York John F. Kennedy International on December 21.

Several routes during the end-of-the-year holidays showed more disruptions than others. Those flight paths were:

  • New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Boston Edward L. Logan International Airport (BOS) to Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Boston Edward L. Logan International Airport (BOS) to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

AirHelp’s online platform helps travelers who experience delays or are forced to fly on a later flight claim compensation from the airline.

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